Public Parks in the Central Valley

Of California’s 280 state parks, just 32 are in the Central Valley. Below, Caswell Memorial State Park, near Modesto. River Partners helped restore this section of the Stanislaus River riparian ecosystem for wildlife habitat and public recreation. Photo by Manteca Bulletin.

The population of the Central Valley continues to grow, but access for the public to open spaces is not keeping pace. The Central Valley Vision included plans for new and improved facilities at the 35 existing parks, creation of 11 new state parks, new boating trails, and reliance on partnerships to get it all done. River Partners’ Dos Rios Ranch was even identified as an important future state park.

So, ten years later, how are we doing? Through the economic downturn of 2008 and the drought crisis of 2012-2016, we haven’t made much room in our state budget for this $272 million plan.

This 2009 plan called for $272 million in improvements to existing state parks and creation of 11 new state parks in California.

With renewed interest in infrastructure under our current administration, perhaps 2018 is the year to make major strides prioritizing investment in our communities where environmental quality improvements are needed most.

Ten years ago, California State Parks laid out a plan to address a critical problem: the Central Valley has fewer parks per capita than any other region of California.

The above article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of the River Partners Journal.